If you watched any of the last Winter Olympics from Vancouver, you may have seen American downhill skier Lindsey Vonn’s pre-race routine. She would stand there, close her eyes, bob her head back and forth and wave her hand slowly back-and-forth, in front of her face.
In other words, she looked like someone having a very good time at a Grateful Dead concert.
In actuality, Vonn was visualizing the run in her head—picturing herself carving the turns, tucking on the flats and sticking the jumps. And the two medals she won (including gold) are solid, shiny proof that visualizing works.
You don’t have to be an elite athlete to use visualization, either. I’m a huge proponent of using it in just about all aspects of my life, whether I’m golfing or renovating the house.
But I contend this fantastic device is also one of the best tools you can use when growing your company.
It’s a major part of creating what I call your Vivid Vision (formerly Painted Picture) ~ a 3-4 page document of what your company will look like in three years. It’s an essential exercise I encourage every young, ambitious business owner that I mentor to undertake.
In this case, visualizing, or (leaning into the future’ as I like to call it) involves picturing your business three years down the road, but not in some ambiguous conceptual way. Close your eyes, hop in your little time machine and take a tour of your new digs. Don’t get caught up in realism, dream big if you want to.
Then, while you are “there”, take note of as many details as you can:
Who does the office look like? Is it open concept? A cubicle farm?
How many employees do you have?
What is your day like? Are you talking to suppliers? Interviewing job applicants? Negotiating with the bank?
What are employees talking about around the water cooler (we should still have water coolers in three years, right?)
What is your marketing like? Are you advertising on TV yet? Have you re-branded?
How are you funded now? Venture capital? Have you gone public?
What does the media write about you? Do you have a PR department?
Is the business reflecting your core values?
On one level, you get to enjoy the thrill of seeing where all your hard work is going to take you.
But on a whole other level, visualizing this future helps you begin to set goals and make the kinds of conscious and subconscious changes to your thought patterns and behavior you’ll need to make in order to create this imagined future.
There are reams of research that show the positive effect of visualization. If it works for Lindsey Vonn and just about every other elite athlete in the world, it should certainly do wonders for you.